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Ship breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship breaker (edition 2010)

by Paolo Bacigalupi

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2,0801633,185 (3.91)159
Title:Ship breaker
Authors:Paolo Bacigalupi
Info:New York : Little, Brown, 2010.
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

  1. 130
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (theycallmeEJ)
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    Pure by Julianna Baggott (4leschats)
    4leschats: Both stories deal with environmental issues and teen survival
  10. 00
    Rootless by Chris Howard (wifilibrarian)
    wifilibrarian: Rootless shares several themes and settings with Ship Breaker. Both stories have teen male protagonists with family issues, and both stories are set in future worlds where the environment has collapsed due to human interference. Both include the setting of a future dystopian/post-apocalyptic New Orleans.… (more)
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» See also 159 mentions

English (163)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (164)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
As a New Orleans native, what I loved about Ship Breaker was the post-apocalyptic setting along the Gulf Coast and how Bacigalupi manages to effectively create a believable world where global warming has melted the ice caps and hurricanes that destroy cities is a common occurrence. The main character, Nailer, is not your typical hero; he's a short, scrawny, scrappy, and scarred adolescent suffering from poverty and an abusive father. He spends his days salvaging copper wiring from decaying oil tankers, hoping to come across a hidden oil reserve so he can live a better life. Instead, he comes across a shipwrecked clipper with a young girl trapped inside. Nailer is faced with the decision of either saving the wealthy girl or letting her die so he can salvage the ship and make loads of money.
Bacigalupi does a fantastic job pulling the reader into this futuristic world by keeping the pace going and moving the action around so the reader gets to see more of the setting. While the characters were well developed, I didn't feel as connected to any of them as I felt I should, but maybe that has more to do with who the characters are themselves (tight-lipped and suspicious of outsiders). This book is a great introduction for students to the issues of loyalty, friendship, family, and wealth in society, along with subtly stressing the importance of environmental issues. I would definitely suggest this as a primary text for an ELA unit on dystopian literature, especially in the Gulf Coast region. ( )
  vroussel | Mar 11, 2015 |
Nailer lives on the Gulf Coast in a world where the oceans have risen, hurricanes are a common occurrence, and their is very little oil to be had. Nailer works by scavenging what he can from obsolete beached ships. Nailer comes upon the scavenge of a life time when a luxury ship wrecks near his home. Nita, the ship's wealthy owner, promises rewards if he helps her. The two teens are in danger from enemies within Nita's father's company and Nailer's abusive addict of a father. So begins an adventure that involves jumping a train, gutting eels, and battle on the seas. Although it could be seen as typical teen post apocalyptic fare, Bacigalupi deserves credit for building a believable world filled with compelling characters. The morality of the decisions Nailer makes gives readers something to chew on. The disparities between Nailer and Nita's previous lifestyles could lead to discussions about the gap between the wealthy and poor in out own world. A great read alike for the Hunger Games and the Uglies series, this book is highly recommended for high school and public libraries. ( )
  MissyAnn | Feb 20, 2015 |
Somewhere along the Gulf Coast at a time when New Orleans and its successor cities have been washed away and submerged at least three times, Nailer works light crew in a scrap yard for the obsolete oil tankers that used to transport the now rare petroleum around the world. It’s dark and dangerous work crawling through the unlit depths of the wrecks looking for copper wire and other valuable metal to salvage before the heavy crews come to rip the ship apart for its iron and steel. He almost dies the first day we meet him on the job. He dreams of the great sailing clipper ships, “sleek, fast and completely out of reach.” Then unexpectedly a hurricane brings him right up to one, and he discovers that his dream comes with a terrible choice and a high price. ( )
  MaowangVater | Jan 29, 2015 |
I feel so bad giving [b:Ship Breaker|7095831|Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)|Paolo Bacigalupi|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327874074s/7095831.jpg|7352929] two stars. I mean, it won the Printz! But it just didn't work for me. I can see how it might work for some, just not for me. ( )
  IsaboeOfLumatere | Jan 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
Bacigalupi is a highly acclaimed adult sci-fi writer, and Ship Breaker won last year's prestigious Printz award for young-adult fiction in the US. It's a taut, disciplined novel, moving with tremendous coiled energy and urgency. I found it a tad colourless in places, but Nailer is a fine hero, complicated and questioning, always wondering whether he's doomed to inherit his father's failings or whether he can make his own destiny.

Which is, of course, the essential question of every dystopia. And basically the essential question of every teenager, too. Why do teenagers like dystopias? Simple. They're looking for proof that there's a way to survive the one in which they're already living.

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caplan, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swaab, NeilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.
The blood bond was nothing. It was the people that mattered. If they covered your back, and you covered theirs, then maybe that was worth calling family. Everything else was just so much smoke and lies. (p. 274)
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Book description
Even at night, the wrecks glowed with work. The torch lights flickered, bobbing and moving. Sledge noise rang across the water. Comforting sounds of work and activity, the air tanged with the coal reek of smelters and the salt fresh breeze coming off the water. It was beautiful.

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota — and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life — strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life...

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.


Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being disassembled for parts by a ragtag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father to his hand-to-mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present-day third world.

When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

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In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.… (more)

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